“Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble” so goes the famous Witch’s chant from Act 4, scene 1 of Macbeth but was a similar chant taking place last week when a potential Witch Tax was rejected by the Romanian Senate?
Like many countries around the world Romania suffered badly during the recession. In an attempt to balance the books the government has undertaken cuts in public sector wages as well as raising the VAT rate.
In a somewhat unusual move last week though, Alin Popoviciu and Cristi Dugulescu, two members of the ruling Democratic Liberal Party drafted a law whereby Witches would have had to produce receipts for the services they performed and hence be taxed on them.
Now whilst the image of Witches queuing up to submit their tax returns may cast an unlikely picture there are a number of interesting issues.
First of all then surely they are just self employed individuals? From a tax point of view they are no different from for example a self employed builder or a self employed accountant who both have to pay income taxes.
Admittedly, from a non tax point of view it probably elicits some interesting expressions on the face of the person who asks them what they do for a living but back to tax and there would be some questions that needed to be answered:
What about Witches training courses? Surely they would be a tax deductible expense?
Would the costs of keeping a black cat be considered a personal expense or an expense of the business?
What about the purchase of a new broom. Would it be a capital or revenue expense?
In another move which no doubt came as a complete surprise for all concerned, fortune tellers were told that they were to be held liable for any incorrect predictions that they made.
The Witches and fortune tellers needn’t have worried too much though as Romania’s Senate voted down the proposal on Tuesday.
Popoviciu allegedly claimed that the lawmakers didn’t implement the law as they were frightened of a Witches’ curse being made on them.
Benjamin Franklin once famously said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Maybe the Senators that voted down the Witches tax in Romania were concerned that the two would be combined.